Obviously, I’d love for you to buy the Hopper Holiday Gift Bag, full of 13 fantastic and locally made products from restaurants, bars, and food makers! It’s the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for person who happens to love food. Thanks for your support!
Here are some other ideas, with many from local and small businesses—plllllease stay off Amazon if you can.
For the coffee lover: I’m a big fan of espresso from Mr. Espresso (locally made since 1978!), and for the holiday, they just released their special Caffè Festivo Holiday Coffee Blend, with cupping notes of candied fruit, mulling spices, and Dutch cocoa. They also sell some great holiday sets, including a set with the Caffè Festivo and a panettone from the storied Sicilian bakeshop Fiasconaro (perhaps you read the recent story about them in Eater?).
Speaking of panettone, it’s the perfect host/ess gift or way to say grazie. (And they always look like a present.) I’ve been loving the latest slow-fermented panettone from Starter Bakery, filled with Italian candied orange peel and 64% extra-bitter Guayaquil chocolate. The delicate texture is extraordinary. My mornings have been extra-special with a slice and an espresso, but it’s also a lovely sweet treat in the afternoon. In fact, I’m eating it right now, LOL.
I always love the panettone from Emporio Rulli—Gary makes it in the traditional Italian style, with four different flavors, but you’re getting it fresh. (He also makes killer stollen.)
A16 is taking preorders for the panettone they sell from Namesday Bakeshop (from chef Alex Lovick in Napa), who’s making a small amount and exclusively for A16! Flavors are traditional almond, candied orange and raisin, or the 2022 flavor of pistachio and lemon (!). Order here and choose the flavor, A16 location, and date you’d like to pick it up.
If you’re in the East Bay, Market Hall Foods always has a wide selection of panettone (the amarena cherry from Rustichella d’Abruzzo is a fave), as well as a bunch of other tasty seasonal items in their holiday shop, like olio nuovo.
I have been posting a BUNCH of holiday Stories on Instagram every day, be sure to check my holiday Highlight for a full recap of holiday cocktails, meals, and treats. I want to be sure you saw that One Market is offering eight kinds of latkes on their menu for their Festival of Latkes, until December 23rd! Delfina’s tasty latkes are also available right now!
OK, it’s time for a drink. One of the most special things I tasted this past year is the portfolio of Loco Tequila, from their Blanco to their Puro Corazón (only the finest essence of the distillation’s heart makes it into this expression, making it quite rare and special), and their Ambar Reposado (if you like some nutty and vanilla notes). While the Blanco is an exquisite sipper with herbal and mineral notes, the Puro Corazón is on another level (and it comes in a mouth-blown, handmade crystal bottle). Each bottle is numbered and comes in a special case. Read more on their origin, terroir, and process. Here’s a special for tablehopper readers: shipping is on Loco with code Tablehopper. ¡Salud!
It’s time for bubbles. Always. I love receiving bubbles, I love gifting bubbles. A bottle is always appreciated, and how about a bottle with a candle? Cheers to Domaine Carneros, one of my favorite California sparkling brands, who released this limited-edition collaboration gift box with Voluspa: it comes with a bottle of Domaine Carneros’ limited-release cuvée paired with a Sparkling Cuvée candle with notes of grapefruit and stone fruit (the opalescent Japonica glass shimmers). (You’ll find other special gifts in their shop—La Rêve is truly a dream.)
One of the most enjoyable bottles I have popped recently is the special collector bottle of Charles Heidsieck’s Brut Réserve, a multi-reserve bottle that is pure finesse, elegance, and balance (it’s 40 percent pinot noir, 40 percent chardonnay, and 20 percent meunier). Thanks to the prolonged aging (three-four years in chalk cellars) and 50 percent of reserve wines in the blend, it offers some notes of brioche and fruits and nuts you’d find in a Turkish market (apricot, pistachio, almond). The artwork on the bottle by French artist Catherine Gran is gorgeous, and definitely something you want to see on the table (and in your glass).
Trying to lay off the alcohol? I hear you. If you’re a cannabis lover like me, you should know that PAX just came out with their brand-new PAX Plus, and it’s one smooooooth draw. And it comes in beautiful plum or sea green! I stopped smoking joints a long time ago, but with the PAX vaporizer, I can enjoy fresh flower without a hard hit or smoke. (I crumble up joints in the chamber all the time, or you can grind your own. They have also come up with some pre-ground “buds” pellets, great for when you’re on the go!) And, no waste since you aren’t dealing with vape cartridges or batteries or excessive packaging. Love it. There’s also a new PAX Mini, which is a tiny bit smaller, with simpler functionality.
Feel like doing some browsing and socializing? This Saturday December 10th, La Cocina Municipal Marketplace is hosting their Holiday Market Fundraiser from 11am-4pm, featuring food, art, and other gifts from mission and women-owned small businesses. Enjoy live entertainment, delicious bites, seasonal spirits, and winter crafts for the kids, plus there’s a holiday photo booth.
And if you’re doing some last-minute shopping, a couple shops that are always fun to browse are Rare Device (my friend has me obsessed with this metallic mushroom shopping bag) and over in the Mission, Bernal Cutlery has excellent knives and kitchen tools, books, and this awesome Gestura slotted spoon from Japan.
Books are always a welcome gift: go browse over at Omnivore Books (they have fantastic vintage books, too!), Green Apple Books (plus they have fun gifts), and Booksmith! Take a look at the new Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking, and I think Sally Schmitt’s Six California Kitchens is one of the best cookbooks to come out this past year (read my review).
Now, I would be the worst sister in the world if I didn’t mention the beautiful hair (and hat!) fascinators my sister has started making in her new Etsy shop, DeckedOutSF (I have always been lucky to have the sister hookup and wear these floral and feathery beauties to events, but now she’s making them extra-fancy!). It’s the perfect accessory for holiday parties and brings instant glam for New Year’s Eve, for sure. Follow her Instagram account @deckedoutsf to keep up with her latest creations as she makes them!
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Caffè Festivo Holiday Coffee Blend from Mr. Espresso.